Enrollment In Online Learning Is Gradually Growing

According to a recent survey report, published by the Census Bureau, between 2012 & 2013 only 463,000 people had enroled in college. In fact, this is the second year enrollment has fallen by that much, bringing the two-year total to 930,000 college students, bigger than any drop before the recession. Now in this situation, the inevitable question, that is being raised, is that, why this might decline in college enrolement is taking place? Well experts have cited various reasons for this, among which current economy crunch & increasing demand of online education are pivotal ones.

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Rise In Education Fees – A Vital Reason Of Downfall

Even though most of the states have restored some funding, that was cut in recent years, their support for higher education still remains below pre-recession levels, straining college affordability ― especially for students whose families struggle to make ends meet. Consequently, instead of tuition increase being steeped, more students are now threatened to be put out of reach of colleges or universities.

Lately the decline in state funding & rise in cost have played a vital role in swelling in tuition fees. Since 2007-08 school year, while annual published tuition at four-year public colleges has risen by $2,068 or 29%, in five other states — California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, and Louisiana — published tuition is up more than 60%.

These sharp increases in tuition have accelerated longer-term trends of college becoming less affordable and costs shifting from states to students. Over the last 20 years, the price of attending a four-year public college or university has grown significantly faster than the median income.

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Online Education – Transforming Traditional Learning

According to US writer Clay Shirky, online education, right from its advent in 2008, has been posed as a threat over traditional classes.

Further enforcing his point, Shirkey wrote, “Once you imagine educating a thousand people in a single class, it becomes clear that open courses, even in their nascent state, will be able to raise quality and improve certification faster than traditional institutions can lower cost or increase enrollment.”

The fact that, the sustaining growth of online courses has led to a raging debate – will this mode of learning fundamentally transform traditional higher education? Michael Gibson, a vice president at the Thiel Foundation, thinks, concerning to this topic, with online education improving, whether its MOOCs, or other individualized modes, more and more students will partake of the learning they want, when and where they want it online. They’ll abandon the very costly “university education”.

However, there are a couple of ambivalent opinions, which tend to establish that, traditional classroom education will survive largely as there is no other educational experience for students which is as deep and affecting as learning from a teacher who cares about imparting knowledge and stimulating thinking. Despite this argument, most students these days do not want that kind of cerebral experience. Students, belonging 21st century generation, are keen to get a great level of occupational competence in their learning process, and they want it with as little effort as possible.

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According to a recent Babson Survey Research Group report, more than 6.7 million students—32% of total higher ed enrollment—took at least one online course through a university during this year, roughly 6.1 million more students from the prior year.

Some time back, one of my fellow educators had announced to offer his course on Stanford’s website for free. He reorganized it into short segments rather than hour-long lectures, included problem sets and quizzes, and added a virtual office hour via Google Hangout. Enrollment readily jumped from 200 Stanford undergraduates to 160,000 students around the world & which is more shocking that, only 30 remained in the classroom. Hence it is quite evident that, even as overall enrollment in higher education declined, participation in online courses increased for the 10th year in a row, struggling through all the reservation, done by students & faculty.

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